Corn, Basil, Tomato Salad with Smoked Tofu

We’re spoiled, so the corn and heirloom tomatoes are from our CSA.

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Vegan BLT and the story of a young gymnast

At the end of third grade, I remember sitting on the mat in front of the foam pit with all the girls on my gymnastics team. In preparation for the team’s annual party, the coaches asked each of us what kind of sandwich and cookie we wanted for party lunchbox. I was nervous about what to request. Fortunately, my last name is at the end of the alphabet, so I was able to listen to what everyone else picked. Unfortunately, the trendy lunch was a BLT and Oreos–things we did not eat in my Jewish household. And like I said, I was 8, so I don’t even know think I’d ever heard of a BLT. I did, however, know what being cool was, and it did not involve PBJ and/or chocolate chip cookies.

In second grade, I’d broken my arm, missing out on a lot of gymnastics, meanwhile the other girls my age had shot ahead. I was on the training team and they were on the “D-team” or developmental team, a designation for highly promising young gymnasts too young to compete (this was in the 80’s, and if memory serves, 9 was the youngest age allowed in competitions). If that wasn’t bad enough, my from Lindsay. who lived down the street, was on the D-team and her mother dropped me off at the gym for the end of the year demonstration, and then told me to “get a ride with Lindsay” to the party afterward. I took that to mean that her mom was coming back and driving us to the party. An hour later, sitting in front of the gym, it was clear that her mom wasn’t coming and everyone was already at the party and no one knew where we were. I have no idea how we called her mom to come get us.

Needless to say, in third grade, I didn’t want to mess this up. So when Coach Mike called my name out, I said I wanted just an L. I knew I didn’t want bacon, and at the time I hate tomatoes. So for me, I had an L sandwich and some Oreos, which I’m sure I didn’t eat either. Probably not the coolest lunch, but I felt ok about it then.

Now, I’m much more confident about my food choices, and better yet, have devised the ultimate (vegan) BLT–portobello “bacon”, arugula, tomatoes, and avocado, on toasted bread, with a thin spread of Earth Balance. Crispy, salty, juicy, and not embarrassing in the least.

Vegan tomato pie

We made these mini ones and an 8 x8 square pie as well. Using Diet, Dessert and Dog‘s recipe for a summery zucchini pie, here is the recipe with our changes. This recipe is too good.

Tomato Pie with Potato Crust adapted from Diet, Dessert and Dog and  Seitan is My Motor
Crust:
2 pounds (900 g) russet potatoes, cut into large chunks
2 Tbsp (30 ml) finely ground flax meal
2 Tbsp (30 ml) chickpea flour
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) fine sea salt
1/4 cup (60 ml) vegetable broth or stock

Filling:
1/2 cup (60 g) pumpkin raw sunflower seeds, lightly toasted
2 cloves garlic
3 green onions, cut in chunks
1/3 cup (15 g) lightly packed chopped fresh basil (we used 3 TBL dried)
1 package (12 oz or 375 g) extra firm silken tofu (such as MoriNu)
6 Tbsp (90 ml) vegetable broth or stock
1 Tbsp (15 ml) apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) fine sea salt
1 tsp (5 ml) granulated onion or onion powder
1/4-1/2 tsp (1-2.5 ml) smoked paprika, to your taste
2 tsp (10 ml) light miso
2 tsp (10 ml) dijon mustard
1/8 tsp (.5 ml) nutmeg
1 Tbsp (15 ml) chickpea or soy flour
pepper, to taste
2 medium zucchini, washed, trimmed and sliced
(2 pounds campari tomatoes)
olive oil, if desired

Preheat oven to 375F (190C). Line a 10 inch (25.5 cm) tart pan (8 x 8 square will work) with parchment and spray sides, or spray with nonstick spray.

Prepare the crust: place potato chunks in boiling water and boil just until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Allow to cool completely, then grate the potatoes and place in a large bowl.

To the bowl, add the flax, chickpea flour,salt and broth and mix well with your hands. Using the back of a rubber spatula or a 1/3 cup (80 ml) measuring cup, press the potato mixture evenly into the bottom and up sides of prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until the top is dry. Remove from oven and reduce heat to 350F (180C).

Meanwhile, make the filling: In the bowl of a food processor, blend the seeds, garlic, green onion and basil until you have a paste. Add remaining filling ingredients except for tomatoes and process again until smooth.

**Slice tomatoes the short way (so that you have pretty rings) and arrange on top of the crust. Reserve a few to decorate the top. Pour the filling over the tomatoes, smooth with a spatula, and then arrange the decorative topping (if desired).

Bake in preheated 350F (180C) oven 50-60 minutes, rotating the pie about halfway through, until the crust is browned and the tomatoes begin to brown. Allow to rest 5-10 minutes before serving. Makes 8 servings. May be frozen. (Great hot or cold!)

Vegan homemade baked beans, kale, and coleslaw

The kale and coleslaw are pretty much staples, so I won’t bore you with those details.

For the baked beans: In a dutch oven, heat 1 tsp olive oil and saute 1 diced onion and 3 garlic cloves. Add 1 can tomato sauce, 1 TBL parsley, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 2 cans (drained and rinsed) white beans. Season with salt and pepper. Add some water if needed to cover. Bake covered at 350 for 1 hour or until the beans have absorbed most of the sauce.

Curry with kohlrabi, potatoes, and peas

I went to the farmer’s market and found purple kohlrabi! I’d never eaten this before, but it smelled like cabbage and/or cauliflower (its close relatives), so what’s not to love, right? We made this curry, based on the recipe from Simply in Season. We increased the spices to 2 tsp each, and used mustard seeds instead of powder, and cilantro for the coriander. Also, the kohlrabi didn’t come with any leaves, so we used a cup or so of kale. Definitely give this a try.

Vegan gluten-free pasta with chickpeas

This recipe is an adaptation of a library school friend’s family recipe. It’s simple, cheap, and deliciously veganized. We used brown rice noodles to make it gluten-free, as well. L.B., if you’re out there, thanks!

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 15 oz. can chickpeas drained

4 TBL parsley

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp basil

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

4 TBL nutritional yeast

1 cup (dry) gluten-freen brown rice macaroni noodles (cooked as indicated on the package)

Saute onions until translucent, then add garlic and cook about 30 seconds. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Add tomatoes, spices, and nutritional yeast. Add chickpeas, then bring to a boil. Immediately, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook covered about 10 minutes. Cook pasta and drain. Add pasta to the chickpeas and cook covered an additonal 10-15 minutes.

We had this with what I’ll call “Caeser slaw”: cabbage, carrots, radishes, celery, and green onions, with a for the dressing (we’ve posted this before):

Mix together 1 tsp garlic powder, 2 TBL lemon juice, 1 TBL balsamic vinegar, 1 TBL olive oil, 3 TBL water, 1/4 tsp black salt, 5 TBL nutritional yeast.

Mix together with the vegetables in a big bowl and chill for 20 minutes.